The article is aimed at identifying and analyzing the main frames for conceptualizing the sociopolitical role of memes and the models of their linguistic representation in the newspaper articles (16 articles, mainly 2019-2020, in English) on the relevant topic. In other words, this is an attempt from a scientific standpoint to represent how modern media, which are becoming the source and means of the viral spread of Internet memes, meta-represent an element of their own communication processes. Methodologically, the study is based on examining media texts about Internet memes in the broad context of socio-political transformations emerging from the active development of forums, social networks, instant messengers, and other tools. It proceeds from analyzing the thematic grid in each article, identifying the key, repetitive lexical elements, including metaphors, associated with interpreting memes popularity and their functions, as well as taking into account some iconic components of these multimodal texts. Then I review the entire article mini-corpus to identify repetitive patterns of meme representation and study their evaluative component. These models that can be viewed as coordination patterns are further compared with the way Internet memes are considered in academic studies. As a result, it is shown that although in modern journalism the conceptualization of memes in many respects correlates with what the experts of technologically mediated communication say, the article’s appraisal of the importance for various aspects meme usage is different. Journalists are less concerned with the precise definition of the phenomenon, meme classification in terms of structural types or according to component relations in them. They do recognize that going viral is an important feature for memes, but journalists, as opposed to scholars, are less interested in what makes these information products popular and widely shared, often taking it for granted. At the same time, journalists (compared to ordinary users) nowadays are less inclined to view memes just as an entertainment. However, it should be borne in mind that changes in the functionality of memes, apparently, occur unevenly around the world and in a number of countries are less noticeable for objective reasons, and journalists may be well aware of the differences between the English-language socio-political discourse, especially in the United States, and the European one “lagging behind”. The more indicative is the desire to anticipate the inevitable future transformations and take into account the experience of the countries that are more “advanced” in terms of using memes for public and political purposes. Thus, the focus of attention in newspapers is shifted towards two frames, both of which are viewed as reflecting situations that are potentially problematic for society. One is associated with the ideas of domestic alt-right radicalism and international “information terrorism”. The second frame is also based on the concept of the world plunging into information wars which are aggravated by economic problems, social tensions, and uncertainty about future. Against this background, memes are seen as coping method, a way to let off steam and get emotional relief from tension.
|Translated title of the contribution||Conceptualization of the public and political role of memes in media discourse|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||ВОПРОСЫ КОГНИТИВНОЙ ЛИНГВИСТИКИ|
|State||Published - 2021|
Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language